Taking the Wheel Back as Cancer Loosens Its Grip
Scrolling through the men’s prostate cancer page on Facebook today, I realized that cancer can take a back seat.
Those who have followed my musings through the past three years will know I have written, from many angles, about the gripping fear that cancer can impart on our lives. Fear of not responding to treatment and what that means… fear of the unknown… fear of recurrence… even fear of coming off of treatment. It’s real. Sometimes living with the “C” word can be crippling. It can bring us to our knees and drop us into emotional valleys.
We all have our ways of dealing with it. Some of us learn how to dance with it, hoping to stay the leading partner. Others find ways to lock it away. Some embrace it, looking for the silver linings. Whatever it takes. Whatever mix. As long as it works.
Today, while scrolling down the private prostate cancer men’s page on Facebook, I counted a growing number of new members who were pleased to have found and been admitted to the group. But, one entry stood out and made me think. It read: “So this is my last post here. I am dropping the group. Just nothing here for me at this time…”
Of course, many members were sad to see this post and to think they were losing one of their brothers. So much had been shared between him and the others. Bonds had definitely formed through the giving of mutual support. I posted a quick “Stay well…” in encouragement.
And then I smiled to myself. I believe this brother was telling us that cancer was loosening its grip on him.
I understand that. In some ways it’s also happening to me. Instead of sitting in the driver’s seat, cancer is now relegated to the backseat, only occasionally uttering demands and warnings as back seat drivers are wont to do. I now have my hands back on the wheel as my favorite phrase plays over and over in mind mind… I have cancer… it doesn’t have me. More and more, I wonder if the first three words are even true.
Of course, there are still questions… Will and when will my disease recur? How aggressive might it be if it does? I still have more than two years to go before I reach that magic five year survival milestone.
Still, I am more at peace than ever with my once frightening friend. Each day I drive on the road of recovery, the more I feel in control…. the more I feel like a survivor.